Six months after the death of Flash the Dog and my daughters were increasing the frequency with which they mentioned puppies. “Wouldn’t a puppy be cute?” and “Ah, look at this one,” while pointing to pictures of small dogs behaving in a variety of amusing or charmingly mischievous ways, punctuated conversations on a daily basis. But one daughter is lodging while she looks for a job and the other is planning to leave for university in a little over six months. The last time I checked, dogs live for considerably longer than six months, puppies grow up and few halls of residence cater for pets.
But the seed was sown. We wouldn’t have a puppy. We would adopt an adult dog. Just as we did with Flash, and before him Scratch. It may not be cute, but then no one else in our family is cute either. Scruffy but loveable. That would suite us better. When the daughters were out we browsed the web sites of the local dog rescue centres.
And that was how, a few weeks later we came to adopt Cody. He isn’t the middle aged adult dog we had in mind but the experts at the dog rescue centre thought he would be a good fit into our family and get on with Tilley, our long established top dog, eleven year old border collie, the “dominant bitch”.
Cody is a large dog, thought to be a cross between a husky and a German shepherd, just over one year old. When we first met him he seemed quite shy but he settled in quickly. After one day he had selected an arm chair, chewed its wooden arms, taken to watching the television and developed a fondness for bounding up and down the stairs chasing cats. He is obsessed with the cats.
After one night he had wrecked our utility room; the dog mats were shredded, the paper re-cycling bag and the paper in it strewn everywhere and he had forgotten all his house training. The mop, bucket and disinfectant were once again playing a key role in daily chores. At least he doesn’t bark in the night and keep us awake.
The carpet roll that replaced the dog mats was unravelled night by night into its component parts, until it was no more than tufts of wools and strands of string. How could one dog make such a mess?
When let out into the garden each morning, Cody’s first thought is to look for cats: in the hedge rows, on the bins, under the cars, up in the trees. The last thing he thinks of is relieving himself. It seems that because of the cats he needs house training all over again.
When Cody moved in he came with a harness and bungee lead as we planned to take him running, at least on the “Sunday run”. We have a two mile circuit around Knypersley Reservoir and the Serpentine. Younger daughter is our fastest runner and she was keen to take him. The target: four laps. A backup team would be in place in case it didn’t work. They managed one and a half laps together before they went their separate ways. The squirrels and ducks had been too interesting and his running too erratic. The following attempts, the same outcome. The running harness and bungee were returned. We don’t need them for his usual daily walk.
The first Sunday we didn’t take him for a run, at the exact time we were settling with the rescue centre, Cody raided a sports bag and chewed up a very expensive Garmin satellite watch. Was this time for second thoughts or was he just trying to tell us he wanted a run?